8 July 2011 Last updated at 06:30 ET
Former News of the World editor Andy
Coulson has been arrested by police investigating phone hacking and corruption
It came as David Cameron defended his decision to give Mr Coulson a “second
chance” and employ him as his director of communications – a job he has
The PM announced two inquiries – one led by a judge – into the phone hacking
allegations and newspaper ethics.
Mr Coulson has denied any knowledge of phone hacking while he was NoW
Mr Coulson, 43, was arrested at 1030BST on Friday by detectives investigating
allegations of hacking the phones of various people in the news and is also
being questioned about corruption allegations.
He was arrested by appointment at a south London police station and is in
Mr Cameron said of Mr Coulson: “I became friends with him and I think he did
his job for me in a very effective way. He became a friend and he is a
On Thursday News International shut down the News of the World following a
spate of fresh revelations.
The 168-year-old tabloid is accused of hacking into phones of crime victims,
celebrities and politicians. Police have identified 4,000 possible targets.
Mr Cameron said a second inquiry would look at the ethics and culture of the
press and he also said the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) would be scrapped,
adding: “I believe we need a new system entirely”.
He also questioned the tenability of Rebekah Brooks as News International
chief executive considering she was editor of the News of the World at the time
of Milly Dowler’s phone being hacked.
Mr Cameron said there had been reports she had offered her resignation and
added: “In this situation I would have taken it.”
In January 2007 the News of the World’s royal editor, Clive Goodman, and a
private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, were both jailed for plotting to intercept
voicemail messages left for royal aides.
The Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, claims he warned Mr Cameron not to
employ Mr Coulson.
But the prime minister said he did not remember receiving “any specific
action or information about Andy Coulson” but would check with his
However, Mr Cameron said Mr Coulson had said he was unaware of the phone
hacking which had been going on during his tenure at the paper.
Asked if he had “screwed up” on the decision to employ Mr Coulson, Mr Cameron
said: “People will decide.”
He said: “I decided to give him a second chance but the second chance didn’t
work. The decision to hire him was mine and mine alone.”
The prime minister said a company had been hired to run a “basic background
check” on Mr Coulson before he was employed while the Conservatives were in
The PM said: “At the time it looked as if a proper investigation had taken
place, someone had gone to prison, and it seemed reasonable to give him a second
Mr Cameron admitted politicians were to blame for “turning a blind eye” to
bad practices in journalism.
He said this was a “genuine opportunity” and a “cathartic moment” both for
the media and for politicians and he said the phone hacking scandal was a “black
cloud” hanging over Fleet Street.
Asked about the decision to close the paper, Mr Cameron said: “What needs to
change is not the name of the paper or the letterhead but the practices that go
on. It’s not for me to say which papers stay open or not.”
Mr Cameron admitted politicians and the media had got a bit “cosy” but he
added: “As a party leader you are bound to want to want a relationship with the
media because you want to get your message over and if that means talking to the
head of the BBC, the editor of the Guardian or Rupert Murdoch I will go out and
He said the scandal showed the PCC was “ineffective and lacking in rigour”
and there was a need for a new watchdog.
Mr Cameron said the judge-led inquiry would look into “why did the first
police investigation fail so abysmally; what exactly was going on at the News of
the World and what was going on at other newspapers?”
“Of course the bulk of this inquiry can only happen when the police
investigation has finished.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said phone hacking is ”disgusting”
Asked about the takeover of BSkyB by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Mr Cameron
said Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was following “the proper legal processes and
He said: “His role is to take the advice of independent regulators and, as
his department have made clear this morning – given the events of recent days –
this will take some time.”
Afterwards the Labour leader Ed Miliband said the prime minister “clearly
still doesn’t get it”.
He said: “He is ploughing on regardless on BSkyB. He failed to apologise for
the catastrophic mistake of bringing Andy Coulson into the heart of
“His wholly unconvincing answers of what he knew and when he knew it about Mr
Coulson’s activities undermine his ability to lead the change that Britain
Staff at the paper have reacted with shock to news that it will be closed
after this Sunday’s edition.
Its political editor, David Wooding, said the closure came as a “bombshell”.
Mr Wooding said 200 jobs would be lost due to the actions of a few
News Corpration put out a statement on Friday saying: “News Corporation notes
today’s comments by the Prime Minister with respect to its proposed offer to
acquire the outstanding shares in BSkyB. Our priority is to continue to
co-operate with the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport
and the existing regulatory process.”
Profile: Andy Coulson
No 10’s former communications
director is back at the heart of the phone-hacking scandal after e-mails emerged
allegedly showing he had authorised payments to police when editing the News of
the World (NoW).
When Andy Coulson stepped down as Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman in
January, he blamed the continuing row over phone hacking, saying it was
difficult to give the “110%” he needed in the role.
Almost six months later, that ever expanding row has returned to present the
43-year-old with further distractions.
The alleged payment of tens of thousands of pounds by the NoW to officers was
first made public when News International, the paper’s publisher, sent them to
police as part of its internal investigation.
The documents, seen by the BBC, date from Mr Coulson’s editorship of the
Sunday tabloid paper from 2003-7.
They have now been formally referred by the Metropolitan Police to the
Independent Police Complaints Commission, which will oversee the investigation
into police payments.
Mr Coulson has always denied any knowledge of phone hacking at the NoW and
was interviewed by police as a witness in November 2010.
He has not commented on the latest allegations about police payments.
- 1986 – Andy Coulson starts work at Basildon Evening Echo
- 1988 – He joins The Sun
- 1994 – He has a brief stint at the Daily Mail before returning to News
- 2003 – He becomes editor of the NoW
- Jan 2007 – He resigns on same day as Clive Goodman is convicted
- Jul 2007 – He becomes the Conservative Party’s director of
- May 2010 – following the general election he takes up a similar job in
- Jan 2011 – he resigns
- July 2011 – E-mails emerge allegedly showing he authorised payments to
police when NoW editor
The former journalist climbed to dizzy heights since
starting out as a reporter on a regional newspaper.
He was born and brought up in Wickford, Essex, and educated at the local
state school, Beauchamps Comprehensive.
The devoted Tottenham Hotspur fan began his career at the Basildon Evening
Echo, before joining the Sun and rising rapidly through the ranks of News
His progress led him to being briefly poached to work at the Daily Mail,
before he was tempted back to the Sun, where he edited the newspaper’s Bizarre
pop gossip column.
He went on to become the NoW’s deputy editor in 2000, and in 2003 he
succeeded Rebekah Wade as editor.
His reign saw a string of old-fashioned tabloid exclusives, lifting the lid
on the private lives of David Beckham, David Blunkett and Sven-Goran
The paper won the Press Gazette Newspaper of the Year award in 2005.
‘On my watch’
When he won the reward Mr Coulson was quoted as saying: “The NoW doesn’t
pretend to do anything other than reveal big stories and titillate and entertain
the public, while exposing crime and hypocrisy.”
He quit as editor in January 2007 on the day Clive Goodman, the paper’s
former royal editor, was jailed for four months for illegal phone hacking.
Mr Coulson said he took “ultimate responsibility” for the scandal, even
though he maintained he was unaware of any phone hacking by his journalists.
His resignation statement said Goodman’s actions were “entirely wrong and I
deeply regret that they happened on my watch”.
A Press Complaints Commission investigation in May 2007
found no evidence that he or anyone else at the paper had been aware of
That month Mr Coulson, a close friend of former Daily Mirror editor Piers
Morgan, became the Conservative Party’s director of communications.
Reports suggested he had been hired at a salary of about £475,000.
At the time of the appointment, a Tory spokesman said the party was satisfied
Mr Coulson had not been to blame for the phone-hacking scandal.
Mr Coulson then played an important role in building support in Fleet Street
for Tory leader David Cameron. In particular, he is credited with helping get
the pre-election endorsement of the Sun.
Tim Montgomerie, editor of the ConservativeHome blog, said Mr Coulson’s
tabloid touch and right-wing instincts brought much-needed balance to the
However, last year he was accused by one former senior Tory press officer of
being a divisive figure. The New Statesman alleged he was “micro-managing” his
staff, and had insisted that he sanction every announcement and policy decision
When the Conservatives entered government in a coalition deal with the Lib
Dems in May 2010, Mr Coulson followed Mr Cameron into Downing Street on an
annual salary of £140,000.
Although working in the background, Mr Coulson was a key figure in the new
administration, and drew comparisons with Tony Blair’s former director of
communications, Alastair Campbell.
But as revelations about the NoW’s activities grew, pressure mounted on him
to resign his politically sensitive post.
In November last year he was interviewed as a witness by police.
The following month Mr Coulson, giving evidence at the perjury trial of
Scottish politician Tommy Sheridan, denied presiding over “dark arts”.
He denied knowing of Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator at the heart of
the phone-hacking inquiry, until the Goodman court case.
He told the court: “I don’t accept there was a culture of phone hacking at
the News of the World.”
Mr Coulson also denied he been given a pay-off to keep quiet by the NoW.
“There is nothing I am not prepared to discuss in relation to my time at the
News of the World,” he said during heated exchanges with Sheridan, who was later
That same month the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, said no
new charges would be brought in the case, owing to a lack of admissible
But in January, the Crown Prosecution Service said it would review all the
material held by police about phone hacking at the NoW.
A fresh investigation into phone hacking followed after Scotland Yard
received “significant new information”.
Police say they are now contacting almost 4,000 people whose names appear in
documents seized in 2005.
News International has announced the NoW is to close.
Andy Coulson was born on January 21st, 1968 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Coulson
January 21st, 1968
1 + 21 +2+0+1+1 = 26 = his personal year (from January 21st, 2011 to January 20th, 2012) = The media. In the news. Telephones. Phones. Spokesperson. Communications. Celebrities. Information. News. Newspaper.
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